International Merchandise Trade refers to external trade in goods only. The primary source of international merchandise trade data is the Customs & Excise Division at the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS). The Customs & Excise Division is responsible for data capture for both computerized and manual borders, and the monthly raw data files are transferred to Statistics Botswana for data processing.
Until the April 2009 Monthly Digest, Botswana was practicing Relaxed Special Trade Type. The Relaxed Special Trade Type takes into account goods that are exported or imported for inward or outward customs processing while the Strict Special Trade Type does not include the same. Strict Special Trade Type comprises imports for home consumption, permanent exports, re-exports and goods cleared out of warehouse (ex-warehouse) only. In June 2009, the Botswana External Trade Database was revised to cater for General Trade Type as per the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) recommendations. The General Trade Type gives complete coverage of external trade as compared to the Special Trade Type. As a result of this, trade reported in the monthly digests for May 2009 onwards is based on the General Trade Type.
Imports are valued CIF (cost, insurance & freight) while exports are valued FOB (free on board). The value of imports includes transport and insurance costs to the importing country. The Exports value consists only of the value of goods as they leave the exporting country.
Trade statistics are used by different researchers, investors (in understanding of the market for purposes of identifying viable products) and economists, most importantly for claiming the share of revenue accrued by Botswana into the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) Pool.
Indicators compiled include:
- Total Merchandise Trade
- Imports and exports composition
- Trade by principal commodity group
- Direction of trade
- Major trading partners